A 21-year-old man has been convicted of murder in the shooting deaths of Atlanta rapper Jerome Blake, aka “Blizzy,” and one of the men who prosecutors say came to rob him, Nathan Hannon. The two men were shot and killed at Headquarters Recording Studio in southwest Atlanta in 2016.
Casey Battle helped put the plan into motion that led up to the deadly shooting, prosecutors said. Battle contacted Caleb Sims, aka “Bally,” to set up a recording session in the space Sims was renting. Two other men – Kenson Hunte and Sheldon Dooley – are also charged in the shooting and will face charges in Fulton County at a later date.
Prosecutors said Hunte, a rapper known as “Rich Show,” told Battle, Dooley and Hannon that he wanted to rob Sims to get back a necklace and $50,000 in cash that he claimed Hunte stole from him. The necklace had Hunte’s moniker, “Rich Show” emblazoned on the medallion of the necklace.
Battle contacted Sims to set up the fake recording session and unlocked the front door of the studio to let Dooley, Hannon and an unidentified man into the building, according to police. Battle brought the men into the recording area where Sims, Blake and a sound engineer were working. The building was secured and the men wouldn’t have been able to get inside without Battle’s help, prosecutors said.
The suspects were captured on surveillance video entering the recording studio.
In the recording studio, one of the men pulled out a gun and yelled, “give it up” to Sims. The unidentified man shot Blake in the face with a .40 caliber handgun, killing him at the scene. Sims returned fire with an AK-47 and hit Hannon, who also died.
The AK-47 was semi-automatic but it had a bump-stock so it fired like an automatic weapon, police said.
Because Hannon and Blake were killed during an armed robbery, Battle was charged with both murders under Georgia law. He remained on scene after the shooting and lied to police on scene about his involvement, but later told detectives that Hunte coerced him into getting access to the studio to rob Sims.
However, detectives found Instagram messages that shows Battle initiated contact with Hunte.
The recording studio was littered with shell casings from the .40 caliber handgun and assault rifle. Hunte’s “Rich Show” necklace was found near the bodies. The case garnered national interest and was featured on the A&E show “The First 48” last year.
Images from the scene of a deadly music studio shooting
Investigators tracked down Dooley after an anonymous tip from someone who recognized Dooley in the surveillance video. Battle was already in custody when Dooley was arrested in Rancho Cucamonga, California on Aug. 19, 2016.
Battle was convicted of felony murder, criminal attempt to commit armed robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was sentenced to life in prison plus 5 years, according to Fulton County. Hunte and Dooley will face trials in Fulton County Superior Court at a later date.